Informations and abstract
Keywords: Italy, Spain, literacy, schooling, education, human capital, regional
This article provides the first harmonised quantitative evidence on the expansion of literacy and schooling in the provinces of Italy and Spain (today’s NUTS 3 statistical units) between 1861 and 1921. Our analysis of this novel dataset suggests that, despite educational (and socioeconomic) conditions being remarkably similar in the two countries in 1860, it was Italy that experienced rapid educational development starting in the 1880s, overtaking Spain around 1900. Among the proximate determinants of these different educational trends, we focus on the different norms contained in the two national school acts, the role of private schooling, education spending, and the feminisation of teaching.